[Man and his fellow-creatures under ethical aspects]

Gotthard M Teutsch
ALTEX 2003, 20 (4): 231-58
It may not be spectacular, but the compilation of a new comment on the German Animal Protection Law before the background of the new constitution is the most important medium and long-term event since the inclusion of animal protection into the constitution in Germany. The comment was also occasion to mark the ethically motivated change in the awareness of society, which has strengthened continuously since the eighties, not only entering the law as the "responsibility of mankind for animals as fellow creatures" but also posing a question to the ethicists, who have since been searching for answers. Eisenhart von Loeper who wrote the "Introduction to the law on the relationship between man and animal" and the comment on the first principle paragraph followed these endeavours of theology and philosophy. Under point 6.3 of this report on the literature some important results are summarised under the keywords "species-spanning humanity", "fellow creaturism", "anthropocentrism-criticism", "principle of equality" and "equity and rights of animals". Significant differences are evident in the comparison of the different concepts that have been developed in animal ethics, also regarding the expanse of the demands made for the benefit of the animals. The general opinion in philosophy that animal ethics and animal protection can only apply to the higher developed animals points towards a tendency to consider only a kind of "animal elite" morally relevant and worthy of protection and to exclude the mass of others as soulless automats by keeping the status quo and exposing them to indiscriminate use by humans. Species-spanning equality must be decidedly demanded.

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